Rami Ungar's shipping business is worth over $500 million, say shipping industry sources. An investigative report by "G Magazine", published this week, reveals that Ungar owns 12-14 vehicle cargo ships though overseas registered companies. The ships are leased to strategic marine shipping customers. Ungar owns the Daihatsu Motor Co. (TSE:7262) import franchise.
Eight of the ships are designed for shipping cars. Ungar ordered them from Polish shipyards over the past four years. The ships each cost $50 million to build. Foreign banks and shipping companies financed all or part of the investment.
Various companies owned by Ungar also own all or part of another three to five ships of different types. Figures obtained by "Globes" indicate that four to six more ships ordered by Ungar are under construction in shipyards in Central Europe, and will be delivered over the next three years. These ships have been leased in advance to various shipping companies in long-term leases.
Ungar founded his shipping company in the mid-1990s. It has benefited from the boom in shipping thanks to the surge in international trade in recent years. The vehicle shipping sector, Ungar's specialty, has had particularly high growth, causing a shortage of specialized ships.
International shipping sources said Ungar's company was considered a "rising star" in the industry, and that there was interest in acquiring it. However, Ungar apparently has no interest in selling the company in the foreseeable future.
Vehicle industry sources believe that the Ungar's access to international vehicle ships give him a significant business edge in parallel imports of vehicles from various sources, in advance of the opening of Israel's vehicle market to competition. It was reported recently that Ungar was considering importing cars from China, and will import several prototypes for testing.
Published by Globes [online] - www.globes.co.il - on October 28, 2004